VAPA Requirement Restricts Students from Finding True Passions

Emma Haag and Kayla Moshayedi

Like all Irvine Unified schools, Portola High students are required to earn credit for at least one year of visual and performing arts to graduate, ultimately requiring some students to take a class they do not have passion for, rather than adding more classes and courses to be counted as VAPA that students would prefer to take.

Current freshmen, sophomore, and juniors who have not completed their VAPA credit must do so by taking Fundamentals of Art over the summer at San Joaquin High, participating in musicals throughout the school year or taking a listed art class on Portola’s course catalog during their senior year. 

With the pandemic’s unpredictability and the few cases of seniors who need to complete the requirement to be A-G eligible, it is challenging for the counselors to scramble to have them enrolled in a course to fit their schedule.

“I think that my VAPA class is inhibiting me from taking other electives that I would have enjoyed taking instead,” junior Sara Amini said. “I wanted to double up on sciences or even take another medical-related ROP class, which can help me a lot in the future with college and future career, but since I had not completed my VAPA credits, I was enrolled into ceramics.”

A student who is enrolled in a sport, world language, core classes and an extra elective that interests them would be unable to fit a VAPA class into their schedule.

Not only does it create scheduling interferences , but it inhibits students from taking elective classes that could benefit them or their GPA, especially optional core subjects such as AP Chemistry or AP Biology.  

Because of the limited VAPA classes in the requirement, students are forced to spend at least one year in a class that could ultimately have no effect on their future, rather than IUSD adding more VAPA courses in which students are more passionate about.